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UAE helped defuse India, Pak tensions: envoy

Ahmed Al Banna

Ahmed Al Banna   | Photo Credit: V_Sudershan

‘Crown Prince spoke to Modi, Imran’

In an announcement that goes against India’s steady official narrative, the envoy of the United Arab Emirates declared on Monday that his country has played a major role in de-escalating tension between India and Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack and Balakot strike.

Speaking at an event at IIT Delhi, UAE ambassador Dr Ahmed Al Banna said, “We have played an important role in reducing tension between India and Pakistan. On the day of the huge escalation, our Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed Bin Zayed had a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Modi and the Pakistani PM Imran Khan. Our role was to sort out differences between two sides in a peaceful manner through negotiations.”

India’s stance

The envoy’s declaration regarding the Crown Prince’s conversations with PM Modi is at variance with India’s statements on the issue.

An official statement issued on March 11 had no mention of the UAE’s role to help with the de-escalation process.

However, Mohammed Bin Zayed had himself stated in a social media message on March 1 about his conversation with the Prime Ministers of India and Pakistan about the “recent events”.

First public statement

This is also a first major public admission of a negotiating role by a third country in India-Pakistan crisis.

India had traditionally denied the space for third party role in the conflict with Pakistan.

This consistent position is rooted in the Simla Accord of 1972.

The envoy pointed out that the role of UAE was not in the nature of mediation but more in the nature of reducing an emergent crisis that grew out of “escalation of tension” following the Pulwama terror attack and India’s Balakot strike.

“We tried to decrease tension between India and Pakistan by using the special relationship that we have with both India and Pakistan,” the ambassador said.

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Printable version | Mar 27, 2020 8:00:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/uae-helped-defuse-india-pak-tensions-envoy/article26571943.ece

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